Czech Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček told Czech Television in an interview on Saturday (16 May) that he is exploring viable ways of bailing out Smartwings Group, a majority owner of national flag carrier Czech Airlines.
That is because “the company has strategic importance,” the minister said and added the government should decide on the bailout by the end of June.
While the Chinese investment group CITC holds 49.9% of the shares in Smartwings Group, the rest is held by a company owned by a group of Czech businessmen led by billionaire Jiří Šimáně, who happens to be a friend of PM Andrej Babiš.
Opposition parties have criticised the idea of renationalising Czech airlines, citing the ownership structure and its strategic importance as reasons. They say it should be treated like any other company.
(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)